Springboks to use controversial jersey as warm-up top

A new-look Springbok change jersey will be seen for the first time on the team’s Outgoing Tour of the United Kingdom this month.

The jersey has been designed by up-and-coming Khayelitsha-born and raised designer Mzukisi Mbane and was scheduled to be worn in 2020 for the first time, until the Covid-19 pandemic wiped out the Springbok season.

The Springboks will wear the jersey for the first time on Saturday before the Test against Wales at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. It will reappear again before the meetings with Scotland (Murrayfield) and England (Twickenham) on the following Saturdays.

The jersey will now be worn during the on-field warm-up before each of the forthcoming three Tests.

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The design is a collaboration between Mbane, Springbok technical partner Asics and SA Rugby.

It is anchored in the traditional white of the Springbok alternate jersey but features Mbane’s signature patterning.

“Our alternate jersey is traditionally plain white but when Asics suggested using a young South African designer to give it a 21st- century twist, we welcomed the idea,” said SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux.

“Jersey design and technology is unrecognisable from what it was even 20 years ago and our rarely seen alternate jersey gives us the chance to explore new thinking.

“We had planned to wear what we call the ‘collab’ jersey on the November tour last year, but that opportunity has not arisen this time around. However, it will appear in 2022 and will get a first ‘public airing’ before the next three Tests.”

Barry Mellis, general manager of Asics SA, said: “The design is striking and has provoked plenty of comment but, overall, we’ve had really good feedback.

“The fan is always keen to see new apparel and we thought they’d be interested to see something that was a departure from the traditional plain-white jersey of the alternate kit.

“We had a tremendous reaction when we introduced the ‘Madiba’ jersey for the Blitzboks and this ‘collab’ jersey captures that essence in our opinion,” added Mellis.

The jersey, at R1,000, can be obtained from all leading sports outfitters and online from the official SA Rugby shop at https://sarugbyshop.co.za/

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